“Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog” :Reggie Goes to Hollywood!

I know that Bob is a writer just like Anwar my late master was. Little did I know he was writing a book about me Reggie! Who would be interested in a book about a cur like me? Bob thinks it is a children’s book. Fay laughs saying it is yet a nowhere and nothing endeavour by Bob who has written three novels all published in serialized format without any commercial success but despite the constant lack of support and criticism of Fay he keeps writing for his own “creative satisfaction”. Well out of the blue someone at Disney has read about me in one of Bob’s posts about the Egyptian rescue dog. They would like him to come to California to discuss some projects with him about me! They would also like to have me do some screen tests for a possible movie or television series. The television network ABC would also like to meet with him about a possible television series featuring me. Not only that a large American publisher in New York wants to speak to Bob about publishing his book about me.

Something important must be happening at Disney as they send a private jet to pick Bob and I up to fly to Los Angeles. Fay stays at home eating Humble Pie and to take care of Dillie. This is so exciting!

A big black limousine arrives to take us to the private air terminal at Pearson Airport in Toronto. The plane is waiting for us and inside this small aircraft is an executive from Disney called Mr. Fixer and a flight attendant along with a pilot and a co-pilot. There is a big bed with a seatbelt for me with a bowl of Evian water and a big dinner of chopped steak, rice and green beans. My I gobbled that up quickly! The last time I was in an airplane I was in cargo but this time I am more than cargo. I could be a Hollywood star.

The plane takes off and Bob and Mr. Fixer have some champagne and talk about an animated or real live production. They have a wonderful smelling dinner they call Beef Wellington and a pistachio cream cake from one of Los Angeles’ top bakeries where all the movie stars buy their desserts. Mr. Fixer says the pistachio cream cake is Snoop Dog’s favourite? I will admit I never heard of that breed of dog?

We land in Los Angeles and another back limousine comes and picks us up and takes us to The Beverly Hills Luxe hotel. There is a bed for me, a bowl for water and some cans of wet food from Le Pooch an exclusive pet store in Beverly Hills. There are even some squeaky toys. I feel there is something special in the air. Mr. Fixer said he would pick us up at 11 a.m. to meet some studio executives. Both Bob and I have a toss and turn type of night. Breakfast comes at 9:30. Bob enjoys his croissants and jasmine tea. I have a special breakfast of fingered toast and scrambled eggs.

The limousine or “limo” as they call it arrives right on time with Mr. Fixer. He looks very nervous. He has learnt about the call Bob received from ABC and the New York publisher and starts a conversation with Bob about exclusivity whatever that means.

We meet Disney executives in a large boardroom. They all stare at me and photos are taken of me. Having a very good command of English I understand the gist of what the Disney executives are proposing. They are thinking of an animated children’s movie called “Reggie The Rescue Dog” and a spin-off television series of the same name. Imagine me in a Disney movie just like “Lady and the Tramp”. Bob’s character in the television series will be played by Ryan Gosling and Fay’s by Jennifer Aniston. Bob will be a co-producer and co screenplay writer. If it is an animated production it is the same deal for Bob. The Disney executives do not want to talk about money but say it is a guaranteed multi-million dollar deal plus 3% of the global gross whatever these terms mean.

I go to make-up with Bob and get a bath and fluff up and take my screen test and I understand exactly what the Disney people are telling me because my English is so strong. One of them remarks that this dog is so darn smart we won’t need an animal trainer. I just have on walk on a leash, growl and look friendly. This is easy!

We head back to the boardroom and a dinner is brought in. Bob has to excuse himself to take me for a walk outside the offices. Darn it we don’t have poop bags! I leave a little Canadian souvenir near the hedges outside the building. Bob has a big laugh.

We have a dinner of seafood from one of LA’s best seafood restaurants. Bob has asked for chicken kibble as he does not want me to get gout from all the rich food I have been eating. As far as I can understand it the screen test is successful and the Disney executives propose an animated feature and a television series but need to prepare the contracts. The money will be set forth in these contracts. Disney wants Bob to sign an exclusivity agreement and Bob says he needs time to review it and retain an agent. Bob has been a smart lawyer for 30 years before he retired but entertainment law is new to him.

Disney asks us to stay around for 3 days and gives us the use of a limousine and $5,000 in cash. Our first “day-off” is spent in finding an agent and Bob’s movie contacts in Philadelphia whom he has reviewed movies for in the past recommends Harvey Pilkington as an agent. Pilkington handles some of the biggest names in Hollywood and as we enter his office we meet someone Bob loves called Larry David! I think he is a big television star. Pilkington sems to know his stuff and Bob gets along with this easy-going man as he is also a lawyer. He says flatly to Bob that he is a gold mine and do not sign an exclusivity contract until “they sweeten the pot”.

On the second day it is off to Santa Monica and the third day off to Santa Barbara where we walk on a big beach and I get salt water and sand all over me as I run in and out of the waves. Bob does not want to leave me alone in the evening so he picks up some Thai food one night and some incredible Mexican street food the next night. I don’t like Los Angeles as much as Toronto as there is too much cement and too little green space. I miss Dillie and Fay. I miss our long walks.

On our last day it is back to meet the Disney executives whose legal team has produced a contract which they give to Bob but they also give an oral outline. There will be an animated movie produced by Disney with global distribution. Bob will be co-producer and co-screenplay writer. There will be a $14,000,000 up front payment. Bob will receive 3% cut of net revenues and 5% of net themed merchandise sales. For the television series Bob receives $8,000,000 up front cash. Bob is asked to sign an exclusivity agreement with Disney meaning he only gets paid if he lets Disney run with the Reggie character and no other media company can be involved with “Reggie”. Bob refuses to sign at this point as he has not yet had talks with the book publisher and ABC. The Disney executives look in disbelief at Bob and say, “No deal”. Bob, a very skilled lawyer, knows this game well and says, “Thank you gentleman and ladies.” We walk out of the boardroom. I remember seeing open mouths and with my super hearing I hear a few voices say they can’t lose this deal as the “Muslim angle” would have taken them to the stratosphere.

We have a nice flight back first-class on-Air Canada and as Disney had provided Bob with false service dog papers, I sit beside Bob instead in a mesh bag under the seat. I have seen another part of the world remembering I thought I would live and die a short life in Cairo.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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